The Christmas eve incident

Saturday Dec 21

Got away at 4:45 am. Traffic was bad. While Allan slept…the traffic crawled. Al didn’t realize what torture it would be for Andy to ride for 12+ hours next to tins of Christmas cookies.

Stopped at a wonderful mall to the north Innsbruck. Stocked up on food for the week. There was no room in the car for the groceries.

We found our apartment easily but there was no one there. So we went down into town and walked around the weinachts market. It was charming, chilly and full of people. Food stalls and sweet crafts booths lined the town square.

One of the BEST things about this apartment was that we could turn the heat off! I don’t know why Austrians keep everything boiling hot in the winter. We prefer it to be cooler indoors.

Sunday Dec 22

Six am came really early! Andy’s training started at 8 so we needed to get on the move.  Why didn’t I buy coffee? We enjoyed the first of several bright pink sunrises as we drove the short distance from Altenmakt to the Flying Mozart lift in Wagrain.

The hard snow was groomed, just like I like it. Enjoyed the best cappuccino that I have ever had in my life! It was fun sitting outside on the terrace watching people attempt a little steep bit.  Later we split lunch, as usual.

I was skiing really well the first day. So when I would have normally taken the gondola down after skiing halfway …I skied the rest of the way down. I must’ve had a brain fart or turned wrong against a bump because I fell when we were almost all the way to the bottom. I waited at the bottom at a cafe while Al fetched the car to come and get me.

I had a horrible evening at the apartment. My son was a jewel acting as a human crutch. Al took care of dinner and the clean up.

Monday Dec 23

_1090109_tonemappedThe next day I stayed in the beautiful apartment, took three naps, and iced the wound. There was no bruise on my hip where I fell – I guess my saddlebags saved me. Even so I rubbed some Ibuprofen cream on it. The day started with a beautiful foggy pink dawn and later the apartment was filled with wonderful bright sunlight. I googled what to do for a bone bruise. Wasted the day getting caught on on Facebook. e-mail, WWF and fed my dragons on Dragonvale. After one paracetamol I felt 1000% better. That night I had trouble getting comfortable because I was hot and my hip still ached.

_1090110Al surprised Andy with his new skis. And then made potatoes and chicken for dinner. We all watched ‘The Big Bang Theory’ together on the converted couch bed before Andy kicked us out (the TV was in his bedroom which is also the dining room). I managed to get some rest that night.

Tuesday Dec 24

I felt much better so thought maybe I’d try one run on Christmas eve…but standing in the cold made my hip ache where I’d fallen. What a creaky old person I’d become! So Al and I took the bus to an English speaking doctor in town. So we could get a doctor’s note – which you need to get a refund on your ski lift pass-I totally freaked out when the x-ray showed a possible compression fracture … I was rushed to the hospital where they immediately took another better x-ray. I told the Dr. that when they decided what needed to be done to call my Dutch insurance so that any surgery could take place at home. She said no. That I would be operated on as soon as possible here and now. The anesthesiologist  put some sedative in my IV. By late afternoon I was recovering from surgery (two screws in the top of my left femur). My operation was pushed back an hour because another more urgent patient had come to the emergency room.

Wednesday Dec 25

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I wasn’t allowed to get up. And still couldn’t believe my leg was actually broken, shouldn’t it hurt more? The osteopath explained that I’d been able to walk on the leg because the break was stable.  I had trouble sleeping…my usual tactics of visualizing yoga just didn’t seem appropriate with a fracture. The nurse offered me a sleeping pill. I told her to check on me in an hour. I must have been already asleep when she came back.

Thursday Dec 26

Had to stay in bed with IV drip. I think the big event of the day was my sponge bath in the morning. At least the room had a view of the mountains. And the nurses would occasionally crack the window open or open the balcony door to let in the clean alpine air.  Andy’s race was postponed for a day due to bad weather.

Friday Dec 27

The first thing the nurse did was put a waterproof patch over my incision and told me I could take a shower. I let out a very enthusiastic ‘Yay!’ Which made my ward mates laugh. I was issued two blue crutches. Gingerly I made my way to the bathroom. It was terrifying to be upright and felt absolutely glorious to sit in the warm shower. The PT came and showed me how to walk properly and how to go up and down stairs. When the doctor made his rounds he told me that I would not be released before Monday. Bummer. I went out into the hall because I was upset by this and ran into some people speaking Dutch. They were visiting a friend in MUCH worse shape than me-he was in danger of losing his foot! At the point I decided a couple extra days in the hospital wasn’t that bad. Two of my ward mates were operated on this day.I started another night in the snoritorium…finally I just dialed in a ‘chill’ music station on my phone and tried to sleep with my headphone on.

Saturday Dec 28

The weekend doctor didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t be released. He ordered another x-ray which showed that I was healing better than expected. Going to get a new x-ray was pretty horrifying-because radiology is right next to the emergency entrance (makes sense) where the halls were lined with people still in their ski clothes lying on gurneys. They said they’d let the insurance know I could go home as soon at they could arrange something. That turned out to be Tuesday.

But first I had to learn how to give myself a shot of (when you lie in bed all day there is risk of blood clots so they give you anti-clot medicine). I dreaded doing this for a day…and when it came to it…sticking yourself with a needle doesn’t really hurt (yes, I did google ‘how to give yourself a shot’ in the meantime) but pushing the liquid through the needle does not feel good.

I think this was the day they brought me pizza for dinner. I made a big stink (I am not a pizza fan). It was either the language barrier or my post – anesthesia brain. I would never choose pizza but there wasn’t anything else so I just had to cope with it.

Sunday Dec 29

The lady with the bad knee, the only one who speaks English was released. I will miss her cheerful company but not her contribution to the snoritorium. As I’m putting on my compression hose in the morning the lady next to me (lower leg injury) says, ‘schwerarbeit’. In the corner is an 88 year old lady with 8 daughters. In the morning after our baths she bursts into song (a hymn I think) it was very sweet and spontaneous.  As I walk by on my crutches I think she says something like, ‘now you have two weapons with you if anyone gives you trouble.’ I tell one of her visiting daughters that I think they are wonderful with their mother. They offer me a sliver of (out of this world heavenly) what I suspect what is home cured ham.

Monday Dec 30

It is certain that I am to go home on the Tuesday flight. First an ambulance will meet me and transport me to the Innsbruck airport. After the short flight another ambulance will take me home. I’m worried that someone will throw away my ‘luggage’ the big blue trash bag that was issued to me on arrival at the hospital (they don’t). People don’t believe that I have so little pain. I had to beg the nurses to take out my (VERY painful IV access). I had a meeting with a wonderful “touchy-feely” PT-wish I could take him home with me. I take an eternity to blow dry my hair, because I can and have nothing else to do. This is not the first industrial hair dryer I’ve burnt out.

I was allowed to come home on the ‘gipsvlucht’ New Year’s Eve.

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That was my holiday adventure. I hope yours was much more boring. I don’t have a caste but I will be on crutches for awhile. People keep asking me about the pain- there’s very little, just twinges, aches and a bit of soreness…

February 5th update: I’m healing quite well and on schedule. Next x-ray in a month.